On the quilt exhibition, Ms. Smith observes,
They effortlessly combine personal and national histories with an exceptional kind of down-home formalism, all the while using available, often humble, fabrics. Like painted furniture and ceramics — only more so — they encourage a free-range pictorial expression outside of painting’s traditional boundaries. Like Navajo blankets, many can be counted among the earliest abstract art in post-conquest North America.
Courtesy of the American Folk Art Museum
Artist, Rebecca Fisher Stolzfus, 1903
Wool with rayon binding (added later)
We don't often think about a bunch of 19th century housewives, or Native Americans, American slaves or unassuming Amish as predominant 19th century abstractionists, or, as the New York Times writer notes, regarding Rebecca Fisher Stoltzfus' 1903 Diamond in the Square, "precursors of Minimalism's rigor and scale ... worthy in its boldness of the young Frank Stella .. a marvel to dissect and reassemble with the eye."
Could this, too, be part of the reason the museum is scheduled for closure?